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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Aboriginal Off-Reserve Education: Time for Action

Commentary by John Richards, Aidan Vining

Richards and Vining argue that more than any other factor, poor education levels are condemning many Aboriginals to live in poverty. They point out that the links among education, employment and income are critical, and suggest that Aboriginal People are not being provided with the opportunity to make realize the potential value of all three of these tenets. In this study, Richards and Vining assess the education performance of Aboriginal students in individual off-reserve British Columbia schools.

In their study, the authors find that less than one-half of Aboriginal students entering grade eight in 1996 achieved a high school graduation certificate within six years. They point out that while this is an unacceptable high dropout rate, in fact, Aboriginal education levels in British Columbia are superior to those in most other provinces.

Richards and Vining posit that in order for education levels to improve, the federal government must view this as a higher priority. However, a constitutional matter is raised by the fact that two-thirds of Aboriginals in Canada now live off-reserve, and therefore out of federal jurisdiction. That leaves Aboriginal off-reserve education ambiguously under provincial jurisdiction. Richards and Vining argue that engagement by the provinces is needed if Aboriginal education levels are to improve. They recommend a combination of strategies to meet this objective: enhanced student mobility, creation of magnet schools, and school enrichment.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): John Richards; Aidan Vining;
Publisher: C.D. Howe Institute [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National; Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Education
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Provincial Issues
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Education / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Provincial Issues / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal


Keywords / Tags:

off-reserve education; provincial jurisdiction; dropout rates; constitutional conflicts; student mobility; school enrichment; magnet schools;